Dad seeks custody after alleged ex hit plot

Police say $50M fund linked to daughter's custody

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HARTFORD, Conn. — A divorced couple's bitter rift took a twisted turn when a Connecticut woman allegedly tried to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband — and only turned more bizarre when she retained custody of their daughter.

For more than a year they had battled over the rights to the 8-year-old girl — with the winning parent also getting control of what police called a $50 million fund linked to the girl's custody — before Tiffany Stevens was arrested in July 2012, allegedly for offering a maintenance man $5,000 to kill her ex-husband, Eric.

Now, almost two years later, Eric Stevens says he doesn't know exactly where his daughter is, just that the woman who tried to have him killed still officially has custody.

"I think it's unconscionable," he said.

On Thursday, Eric Stevens filed a complaint with the Statewide Grievance Committee, which handles lawyer discipline cases, against the court-appointed guardian ad litem — or advocate — for his daughter in the custody case, alleging corruption and perjury.

It was just the latest legal maneuver in divorce and custody cases have produced nearly 180 motions and rulings — and extraordinary allegations by both sides — since Eric Stevens filed for divorce in 2009 after less than six years of marriage.

Three years later, police say, Tiffany Stevens tried to have her former husband killed. The custody fight grew even more complicated a week after her arrest when her parents — with her support — filed a motion for custody of their only grandchild.

Eric Stevens filed a motion for immediate custody of his daughter in September 2012, citing his ex-wife's arrest, and Hartford Family Court Judge Leslie Olear rejected it without explanation, court records show. His ex-wife's parents claim in court papers that he's unfit to be a parent, but Olear hasn't ruled on their 11/2-year-old custody request, either.

A secretary for Olear said the judge would not comment on the case. A state Judicial Branch spokeswoman says the branch doesn't comment on pending legal cases.

Tiffany Stevens, 38, of Bloomfield, couldn't be reached for comment. She has pleaded not guilty and posted $1 million bail in the still-pending case. The lawyers in her criminal and Family Court cases didn't return messages seeking comment, nor did the guardian ad litem.